Asking your boss for more money can be a nervous conversation for many people. However, with proper preparation and research you can both improve your chances and plan out your next step whatever the outcome. Here are five things to know before you begin the conversation.
1. Know the business
Make sure you know what the company’s policy is on pay rises. Some will only consider them at annual reviews whilst others will have pay grades that are reliant on an employee's position within the company. If there is an employee handbook it may contain details on this. Otherwise consider the best person to ask, be it your manager or a more experienced colleague. Either way, if it goes against company policy your chances will be slim. By finding out ahead of time, you can save yourself what could be an awkward conversation.
2. Know the market
Ensure you understand who else is out there who could take your role. For example, if you’re a PA and someone with a similar level of experience could be available at your current wages, it’s not necessarily in your employer’s interest to meet your wishes. By knowing the market you can be realistic about the likely outcome of your request but also benchmark what you believe you should be earning. Equally, if they turn you down without reasonable consideration you will know what else is out there and can consider moving on to find your desired salary.
3. Know your value
While you may be valued at a certain price on paper, think about what else you offer the business. If you have built up intricate knowledge that will be hard to replace, demonstrate it. Be ready to talk about your achievements in your role and how you’ve benefited the company. If your job description has changed or been added to, ensure this is acknowledged. Be fully prepared to explain what you personally offer the business and why it’s in their best interest to keep you.
4. Know the details
Once you’ve checked you’re working within company policy, are being realistic with your request and have noted why you believe you deserve a raise, it’s time to get your details in order. Be clear, concise and plan what you’ll say, working out a conversation framework ahead of the meeting. Try and pre-empt any questions or challenges your employer may put forward and have a response. And, though it may seem obvious, know how much you’re asking for, ensuring you can explain how you arrived at that figure.
5. Know your next move
There are several likely outcomes from a pay rise request. Be ready to respond to all of them. In the best case scenario, your employer says ‘yes’. This is where you’ll need to know exactly how much you’re asking for and why. Your employer may counter so be prepared for this as well. If you are willing to accept less than your initial request, know by how much. If not, explain why.
You may hear a response that starts “No, but…”. Listen carefully to their reasoning here. It may be the case that they want to but are unable due to cut backs or cash flow issues. If this is the case you may be able to agree a time to next discuss the issue or find out what you need to do to reach an agreement now. Worst case scenario is a flat no. Be polite and gracious, and enquire into what steps you could take for a pay rise to become a consideration. You can then decide if these are worth your while. If not, it may be time to move on.
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